Home > Maemo, Nokia, Nseries > If N900 had a 4-row keyboard and/or a tilted screen?

If N900 had a 4-row keyboard and/or a tilted screen?

I saw some incoming referral links from Maemo.org about an old post I did where an unknown Nokia device had a rare four row keyboard, the top being dedicated for numbers.

I revealed the first image to be simply a cheap-ass MS paint job as a concept of a proper 4-row QWERTY keyboard on a Nokia handset.

The design of the phone was not what I wanted to showcase, instead I intended the focus to be about a keyboard that could work well within a small footprint.

Looking back at that post, I just wondered how it might look in the N900. Forgive the crudeness. Quick cut and paste from MS paint:

  • The N900 wouldn’t actually be that much taller when open.
  • Approx 65% of width used for keyboard space (might allow for stronger hinge mechanism if less is used)
  • There’s some space now between the top row and the screen (some complained that top row was too close to edge)
  • More traditional layout given the space (less key searching as it’s more similar to traditional keyboards)
  • The spacebar is centre, allowing both thumbs to press the spacebar. (This doesn’t have to be in the middle)
  • Punctuation is easier to access. (it is annoying having to press function to get @ ‘ and even worse on N97 where .’, were all on the same damn keyboard)
  • Shift button accesses secondary keys, either putting keyboard in caps or the symbols in top row.
  • Caps lock so no need to press twice (maybe this can be connected to led light)
  • I guess “SYM” would double up as control like it does on N900, as well as giving you a grid of secondary symbols on screen.
  • There are two shift buttons, additional right one to make it easier to get to symbols on the left
  • There is no D-pad, but there’s an odd track pad thingy. I guess not the best for certain games (but if we can reconfigure game keys, or just have mainly touch based games that would be one solution)
  • There’s a menu/desktop/(possibly for multitask) button too
  • Would be easier if it was all e-ink and you can just configure the keys how you want them :p

One of the reasons barely half of the area available for keyboard was used in the N900 was apparently to make it easier to combine touch and physical key input. But if you’re going to have a real QWERTY, you might as well splash out for one that best utilises available space.

Having a tilted screen might help with the whole screen/touch combination. A flick tilt slide like the N97 would be fantastic. One of my favourite things on the N97 – it’s impressive to look at but equally functional. Or perhaps an adjustable tilt might do, like the Touch Pro 2. Here’s another cut and paste in MS paint.

Please ignore the flatness of the keys. If I could, I’d make them more 3D like, as I’d like them to have the N900 style keys.

  1. Al Pavangkanan
    January 25, 2010 at 8:33 am

    I, for one, love the space bar off to the side.
    Splitting the bottom row of letters makes much less sense.

  2. yeah
    January 25, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    Where is my comment?? I think that the N900’s keyboard is not so bad. We only just need more space between keys.

    • January 25, 2010 at 2:44 pm


      Your comment is still there but on the photo page.
      I don’t think the N900’s keyboard is bad. On the contrary, it’s great. I’m able to pretty much type without looking at quite some speeds.

      This post was just another one of my random thoughts 🙂

  3. DRE
    January 30, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    i think the tilt functionality would not be a good idea because that would make the n900 easier to break and less of a tank.

  4. Kangal
    March 31, 2010 at 8:12 am

    Tilt form lowers stability/sturdiness (true) but adds function:
    – slightly better viewing angle while on the go (less sunlight reflection)
    – can place phone on the desktop on an angle
    – does away with kick stands which can be flimsy and take up room
    – allows more finger room behind the tilt
    which is good if you need to change volume fast or play games

    But HTC TyTnII or Touch Pro 2 tilt I don’t recommend.
    Why? Although they are adjustable, they are much less sturdy and lose its tightness with usage.
    So N97 tilt I highly highly and hghly recommend. It is a better alternative.

  1. January 30, 2010 at 8:51 pm
  2. March 14, 2010 at 9:24 am

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